Teacher training alumni shares her achievements since graduating from Leeds Beckett University
Teacher training alumni, Christie Waite, shares with us how her experience studying in Carnegie School of Education gave her the confidence she needed, her enthusiasm for the education sector and how this helped her progress to Acting Headteacher just 6 years after graduating.
"My professional career as a teacher began in 2014 in North Yorkshire, where I developed a passion both in Early Years Education and cross-curricular learning. I trained as a teacher at Leeds Beckett University and secured my first post in my final placement school, this placement taught me so much but also allowed me the freedom to be creative and experiment with my teaching. A good placement gives students the confidence to teach and my final placement (which became my first paid teaching post) was certainly where I gained my confidence in teaching and my enthusiasm for education.
I quickly decided that I wanted to influence the lives of many more children and applied for a post in York as an Early Years Leader. I wasn’t keen to develop into leadership at the time but I was passionate about Early Years Education; I believed that I could make a difference and was successfully appointed. Early Years wasn’t at the forefront of the senior leaders agenda and I relished the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and passion for Early Years and the importance of a solid foundation for learning at such a young age, here I began to present to the governors, and following some ‘data crunching’ I had my valid argument and I managed to get Early Years on the map in the form of the School Development Plan. At this school, I quickly became a member of the senior leadership team and became a Local Authority EYFS Moderator, if you ever get the opportunity to be a moderator, do it. I learnt so much during every moderation visit and loved the experience! There is something so special about visiting other schools and having time to discuss the curriculum, it is priceless professional development.
Shortly after, I became Assistant Headteacher and also Curriculum Leader. My love of Early Years made me passionate about cross-curricular learning and how important it is to make learning fun and engaging. One of my only memories from being a Primary School pupil was was dressing up as an Ancient Greek… I certainly only remember what I enjoyed!
Whilst redesigning the curriculum for the whole school, I undertook and completed my Masters by Research (MRes), in which I investigated, designed and implemented a new curriculum based on my passion for Early Years Education. As an ardent Early Years Teacher and Moderator, my Master’s degree research focused on investigating why - if cross-curricular learning is a key aspect of Early Years Education - is this not the case in Key Stages One and Two? This research enabled me to successfully lead, manage and develop the curriculum underpinned by a new assessment system across the whole school, ensuring that every child could learn in an exciting and dynamic way. In September 2019, I became Acting Headteacher and I have been proud to lead and support the pupils, staff and wider school.
Curriculum development, Early Years Education, and Assessment for Learning are just a few of my areas of expertise but nothing is more important than teamwork in a school. As an Acting Headteacher I am lucky to have such a fantastic team of staff who are all passionate about teaching but it is my job to keep their passion and excitement for education. This has been particularly difficult this year due to Covid 19. Home learning, virtual meetings and risk assessments after risk assessments have proved difficult for us all and have had an impact on the whole school community. Staff and pupil wellbeing has been the forefront of my planning throughout the partial school closure. In regards to the curriculum we focused our home learning on our cross-curricular approach and tried to make the learning as engaging as possible for our children and families. Staff and pupils have been amazing and I have been blown away by our school community and how the children have adapted to home learning but we cannot wait to see them again and get back to the hustle and bustle of school life. I know that September will not be ‘normal’ but we will make it as fun and engaging as possible for our pupils!
I am moving into my 7th year in Education and I have no idea what the future holds for me, I also never expected to be where I am now but my one piece of advice for trainee Teachers would be to find a school that shares your values and ethos, share your enthusiasm and passion with colleagues and do not be afraid to keep learning and progressing. I believe that I wouldn’t have progressed as quickly without developing the skills and knowledge through my continuous learning with the Carnegie School of Education, so take every opportunity you get and don’t be afraid to try something new."